Digital transformation, flash, converged platforms, software defined, big data and IoT are all hot topics within businesses that reflect today’s customers’ ongoing challenges.
However, one that has been, and will continue to be, a constant challenge is data protection.
Once just the domain of the IT department, the past few years have seen data protection become a mainstream concern for businesses.
This is perhaps no surprise when you consider that new EU regulation could see organisations failing to meet data protection standards cough-up as much as €20 million or 4% of global revenue.
With this in mind, UK businesses are beginning to take steps to ensure compliance, with the recent Dell EMC Global Data Protection Index 2016 highlighting how organisations are achieving successes as a result of their concerted efforts to reduce the impact of the four biggest traditional data loss risks; hardware, power and software failure and data corruption.
Yet, despite these efforts, businesses appear to be losing more data than ever before. So what is happening?
In the UK, while businesses have got better at protecting themselves against traditional threats, new threats, such as destructive hacking attacks and the challenges of protecting data in the cloud and on flash storage, are taking their toll on underprepared organisations.
Recent outages, such as the one which hit software company, Salesforce, highlight the on-going difficulties that companies are facing. In that case, a cloud outage caused them to lose four hours of transaction data.
Salesforce is not alone, in fact, 13% more businesses experienced data loss or disruption in the past 12 months than in the previous year.
As a result, many are suffering the economic impact of data loss. In fact, the estimated cost to UK organisations that have experienced data loss in the past 12 months is £825,000, with those who experience unplanned systems downtime losing an estimated £154, 000.
So what are the three biggest emerging challenges businesses need to come to grips with today to keep their data safe?
1. Destructive hacking attacks
Nearly a quarter (22%) of businesses surveyed globally had experienced data loss or unplanned systems disruption due to an external security breach and that number increased to over one third (36%) when taking internal breaches into account.
Businesses are increasingly facing threats not just to their primary data, but also to their backup and protection data.
Whether combating cyber extortionists demanding cash to unlock data encrypted by ransomware, or other risks posed to backup and protection data, businesses need to find solutions that put their ‘data of last resort’ beyond harm’s reach.
When protecting against accidental data loss, the key is creating protection copies. But, when hackers deliberately try to take down a business, they can attack those protection copies too.
For even more protection, businesses can leverage advanced isolated recovery solutions that separate protection copies of their data from the network in the event of a breach.
2. Threats to data in the cloud
Almost 70% of UK respondents indicated that their organisations run at least some key business applications in the public cloud; yet less than half said they protect cloud data against deletion, and less than 40% protect cloud data against corruption.
Part of the problem is that many businesses believe that their cloud provider protects their data for them.
In addition, if an employee accidentally deletes files or introduces a virus, that’s generally not covered by a cloud provider.
SaaS backup is crucial in these cases, enabling businesses to take scheduled backups of their in-app data to ensure that they always have a fallback version of their files if one is required.
3. Evolving protection needs
Less than one fifth (17%) of UK respondents said they were very confident that their data protection solutions will meet their future business challenges.
Part of the problem is a lack of confidence around solutions being able to keep pace with the faster performance and new capabilities of flash storage.
With emerging challenges already contributing to a hefty price tag for data loss or disruption incidents to every enterprise globally in the past 12 months, organisations need to act now to ensure that their data protection strategy is fit for the future.
Businesses, therefore, need to build on the progress that they’ve already made with traditional threats and work with a vendor who can help them extend those to new challenges in order to ensure that they have data protection everywhere.
So what can organisations do to ensure data is safe? What are the practical steps UK businesses can take to ensure data loss is minimised?:
1. Ensure you have an appropriate data protection solution in place for all of your critical data no matter where it is or how it is generated.
2. Modernise your data protection strategy to maintain a level of visibility and control for application owners while exploring how automation for data protection can add value to your organisation.
3. Evaluate any gaps in your protection strategy that have emerged from disparate vendor solutions being used to meet your changing data protection needs.
4. When you look at converged infrastructure/hyperconverged infrastructure solutions as part of your digital transformation, validate how your data protection needs will be met or if additional vendor point solutions are still required
5. Validate your cloud apps and SaaS solution data protection needs. Remember cloud solutions (public cloud or SaaS solutions) often don’t natively include data protection with the same level of protection your business is accustomed to receive today.
Sourced by Sean Horne, CTO UK&I and Sr director EMEA executive briefing program at Dell EMC